Over-responsible individuals often carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, driven by a deep-rooted need to be seen as reliable and dependable. They put the needs of others above their own, seeking validation and approval through their acts of self-sacrifice. This tendency to people-please can be traced back to a fear of conflict and a desire to avoid negative emotions like criticism, rejection, disappointment, and loss.
While their intentions may be noble, over-responsible people may not realise the toll this behaviour takes on their own well-being. Suppressing and repressing their own needs and emotions can lead to a sense of inner disconnection and self-neglect. They may find themselves caught in a cycle of self-doubt, feeling trapped in their roles as caretakers and unable to express their authentic selves.
It’s essential for over-responsible individuals to recognise that their worth is not solely tied to meeting others’ expectations or avoiding conflict. Learning healthier coping strategies and setting boundaries can empower them to prioritise their own needs without guilt or fear. By embracing self-compassion and recognising their intrinsic value, they can find a more authentic path, fostering genuine connections with others based on mutual respect and understanding. Breaking free from the cycle of over-responsibility allows them to rediscover their true selves and experience a sense of liberation and fulfilment in their relationships and life’s journey.
It’s important to recognise that breaking free from over-responsibility is a journey, and it may take time and effort to unlearn old patterns and embrace a new way of being.
There are many reasons why we learn to become over responsible which I will share in another blog post. I do want you to know that you can choose to be and do things that feel more authentic to you and not following the old pattern of being over responsible when relating with others. In doing so, you can really begin to heal and stop the repetition of past hurts.
Being over-responsible can manifest in various ways and may vary from person to person. Here are some common signs of being over-responsible:
Taking on Too Much: Over-responsible individuals tend to take on more tasks and responsibilities than they can reasonably handle. They may find it challenging to say no to others’ requests, even when they are already stretched thin.
Putting Others First: They prioritise the needs and wants of others above their own, often neglecting self-care and personal needs in the process.
Avoiding Conflict: Over-responsible individuals may go to great lengths to avoid conflict, criticism, or rejection. They may suppress their own opinions or feelings to keep the peace.
Feeling Responsible for Others’ Emotions: They may feel responsible for others’ happiness and well-being, trying to fix or rescue others from their problems.
Difficulty Asking for Help: Over-responsible individuals may have difficulty asking for help or support, fearing it may burden others or make them appear weak.
Feeling Guilty or Obligated: They often feel guilty if they can’t fulfil others’ expectations or feel obligated to meet others’ demands, even at the expense of their own well-being.
Perfectionism: Striving for perfection in all areas of life is common among over-responsible individuals as they seek to avoid mistakes or disappointing others.
Difficulty Setting Boundaries: They may struggle to set healthy boundaries with others, allowing people to overstep their limits or invade their personal space.
Need for External Validation: Over-responsible individuals may seek external validation and approval from others as a way to validate their self-worth.
Avoiding Asking for Support: They may avoid seeking support for fear of burdening others or appearing weak and vulnerable.
It’s important to remember that being responsible and caring for others is a positive trait, but over-responsibility becomes problematic when it negatively impacts one’s own well-being and self-worth. Recognising these signs is the first step towards fostering a healthier balance between responsibility to others and self-care. Seeking support from loved ones or professional help can be beneficial in understanding and addressing these patterns effectively.
Here are some things that you can do to help you on your journey of overcoming being over responsible:
1) Set your boundaries! Boundaries are where we begin and another person ends.
2) Boundaries are about YOU and your needs.
3) Remember that you can’t change other people. Focus on what you can do for yourself.
4) You get to decide what you’re willing to put up with. Take time to really sit with understanding what you are putting up with from others and why you allow it if it goes against your values.
5) Don’t stress over someone’s negative response, we do not have control over how they react and we are not going to be liked by everyone. It is for us to sit with the discomfort of someone else not being ok with us. It can bring up a number of different feelings but we can learn to regulate and navigate these feelings.